Security and privacy 101

Discussion in 'other security issues & news' started by TheGhost, Jun 11, 2009.

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  1. TheGhost

    TheGhost Registered Member

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    I'm trying to learn more about security and privacy, but i can't find any decent books, FAQ's or 101's.

    - What kind of programs do exist to secure your PC and privacy? And how to combine them for a perfect setup?(data shredders, encryption)
    - Howto modify windows? (For example the upnp)
    - Howto effectively encrypt your harddrive?
    - What to look for when purchasing new hardware? For example, to buy or not to buy a new dell.
    - Tips and tricks for true anonimity

    I have so many questions, and i'm sure i can find all answers on the forum but unfortunately i don't have the time to read every single post.
    Can anybody recommend me some good books (or e-books) or other resources?

    I feel ashamed to ask this because after reading many posts it looks like everybody on this forum knows more about security and privacy than me. :oops:
     
  2. boonie

    boonie Registered Member

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    I'll do my best to offer some advice, but it’s difficult to answer a post that covers a wide range of topics; security, anonymity, hardware. Entire books have been written on specific points of each topic.

    First, never be ashamed to admit to a lack of knowledge in any area, or ask for help. That’s a step in finding the answers, and increasing your skill. In terms of computer security, it’s a step towards making the internet safer for everyone.

    In regards to security and anonymity, I would start with a source that focuses in fundamentals, so you can gradually build an understanding of your computer system and increase your confidence in securing your computer.

    Here are a few links to start with.
    http://www.malwarehelp.org/articles.html
    http://www.malwarehelp.org/ten-steps-to-malware-prevention-part-1.html
    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials
    http://www.cert.org/tech_tips/home_networks.html

    I’m sure many here can point you to other sources as well.

    In general, I would avoid sites that actually sell security products as a source for knowledge, at least for now. While there are many reputable vendors that report computer threat levels and vulnerabilities accurately, many will indulge in scare tactics, and promote security through purchasing programs rather than smart computing practices. In other words, they want to sell you their products.

    A common trap that many users fall in to when first seeking to secure their computers is to pile on the security programs, believing more is better. All this will lead to is decreased performance and stability, at best. Even worse, you could actually be adding vulnerabilities to your system through bugs in security software and conflicts between programs. As you move forward remember that it’s an informed user that makes a computer secure. All the security programs in the world will fail to keep you free from malware if you indulge in dangerous or reckless computing.

    In regards to hardware, I’ve always found these forums a good place for advice:
    http://forums.anandtech.com/
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/

    In order to help those who are helping you try to be as specific in your queries as possible. If you’re asking a question regarding security or security software, it’s best to be as detailed as possible. Include your operating system, current security software, and a detailed account of any problem you may be having. In regards to hardware, include your computer components (CPU, RAM, motherboard, etc) when posting any questions.

    It’s also a good idea to read the posting guidelines at any forum, as most will have separate threads for specific questions (hard drives, browser security, anti-viruses, etc.), along with general suggestions for what is, and is not appropriate to post.

    Try to break down general questions in to specifics, find a few keywords in the question (email security, browser anonymity, motherboard reviews) and Google them. People that lend a hand on forums will be more likely to help out if you show that you’re actively working on finding the answers yourself, or working to increase your knowledge so you can ask a more informed question.

    Finally, in response to the second question you asked, modifying (tweaking) Windows, I would offer this advice. While “hardening” your system by sensibly eliminating vulnerabilities is a good idea, I would hold off on any tweaking, particularly any involving the registry, until you build a solid knowledge base of how your system works. I’ve seen too many forum posts involving people who have messed up their registry, shut down essential services, and killed their internet connections by attempting too many tweaks at once and not testing each one thoroughly, or by using a program that “optimizes” or tweaks their system without knowing what the program is doing. They’ve dug themselves in to a hole, and have no idea where to start in digging themselves out. Almost without exception they end up having to reinstall Windows.

    I hope this helps. Just remember to take it slow, and avoid shortcuts and easy fixes. It can be a long process, one that I’m still in the middle of, but it is a rewarding one as you find you can rely on your own expertise and judgment in securing, operating, and maintaining your computer.
     
  3. trismegistos

    trismegistos Registered Member

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  4. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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